Karibu Loo (KL) has many exciting developments to report. Thus far in 2018, KL has gone from being a business struggling to secure long-term contracts to a business struggling with positive growing pains.
- Moving to profitability: KL has been profitable in each of the first three months of 2018, earning approximately $2,000 in January, $1,000 in February and $7,000 in March. April is on track to generate profits as well.
- Sound leadership from Maureen and Kenneth: The business has improved significantly due to more effective leadership (Maureen Mulievi), and the addition of a young, energetic sales professional (Kenneth Odongo). See all staff at Karibu Loo: https://www.karibuloo.co.ke/our-staff/
- Long-term business absorbing an impressive 46% to 94% of units: Maureen, Kenneth and the staff have been successful in securing more long-term contracts. The British Army (located in northern Kenya), has become an important client requiring extraordinary servicing and effort, contracting from 16 (currently) to 66 units at its peak in January. The construction business, with an April total of 17 units on monthly contracts, now includes Konza Construction, Nanchang Construction, TENSES, and Karen Construction. KL has retained the ongoing weekly Sunday-only rentals to three churches for seven units. Long-term rentals therefore absorb 17% (27% with the churches) of our units plus the highly variable British Army business, which puts absorption between 94% in January to 46% in April.
- More effective targeting: KL has learned that long-term rentals are primarily done by foreign corporations or government entities, and Kenneth is becoming effective at targeting important, long-term sales.
- Assets spread thin with inefficiencies costing over $15,000: Running the business has been a challenge as our assets are spread very thin. Current assets include 88 unit (including one VIP unit), a large truck, one exhauster and a pickup truck that can pull the VIP unit or the newly-built trailer to transport unit. KL had to pay for third-party trucks to transport the units to the British Army and is currently renting a large truck full-time (combined cost in Q1 was $14,000) to service the British Army business to which KL has dedicated the exhauster. All the units in Nairobi are serviced manually, which is unhealthy and unpleasant for our staff. The low number of available cabins has forced KL to rent units from competitors on occasion (Q1 cost = $615).
- Most urgent need – a reliable large truck. The biggest business challenge is currently the large truck, which has served KL well since the company’s inception but is now chronically breaking down. The portable sanitation business is not viable without a reliable truck and exhauster. We are working on plans to purchase a new truck, exhauster and 60 more loos and invite individual donations to make the purchase possible.
Today, KL employs five Ngong Road Children Association (NRCA) graduates full-time and has employed 57 high-school graduates part-time as Associates since inception. KL’s Associate Program allows recent NRCA high-school graduates to gain that very valuable first job experience and earn income. “Sales and Operations Associates” are hired to keep the cabins clean and stocked with materials at events and act as ambassadors for the organization. The Associates program teaches NRCA graduates how to be good employees – show up on time, do a good job, and dress properly – skills that students living in the slums never see demonstrated by adults in their lives yet are critical to the charity’s mission of transforming lives through employment. Associates make 500 Kenyan shillings a day plus transport and a meal. (For context, 500 Kenyan shillings covers about a quarter of a month’s rent in the slums). Almost 1,000 day-payments have been made, injecting $5,000 into the slum economy in earned wages.